Public Private Partnerships Opportunities for Forestry Sector Development in Kenya: Synthesis of Primary and Secondary Production Actors, and Trade

Joshua Kiplongei Cheboiwo, Doris Mutta, Jonah Kiprop, Stella Gattama


Kenya Forestry research Institute (KEFRI) with support from African Forest Forum undertook a study 2016 to evaluate the potential roles of the private sector in development of primary and secondary forest production in 10 countries in Eastern Africa. The main objective of the study was to provide information to support the emergence of organized private sector for sustainable forest management and enhanced livelihoods. The study involved literature reviews and some rapid reconnaissance surveys in key areas to facilitate updating of information and data especially in areas where gaps existed. Results showed that primary forest production takes place in 5 forest categories public plantations, farm forests, community forests and private forests. The primary management objective for public natural forests is mainly for watershed protection and biodiversity conservation with controlled extractions for non-commercial uses, mostly by forest adjacent communities. The community forests mostly located in the ASALs are the largest in terms of area standing at 24,510,000 hectares. Second and third positions are farm and private forests located in agricultural landscapes estimated at 10,385,000 and public forests estimated at 3,467,000 hectares with forest plantations accounting for 107,000 hectares. In the last decades except for farm and private forests other types of forests are declining in in both coverage and quality. In the high potential zones the popular plantation species include Eucalyptus grandis and E. saligna, Pinus patula, Cupressus lusitanica whereas in the lowmands the preferred species are  E. camuldulensi, E. terreticorni, Casuarina equisitfolia, Tectonia grandis and Gmelina arborea. In the primary forest production Kenya forest Services key public agency in management and protection of public forests and support to private and individual forest owners. The private sector players such as the tea estates, social entrepreneurs, investment syndicates and individual investors have entered into primary production driven by high demand and returns to investment hence leveraging on operational efficiency to maximize profits. The secondary production actors are largely private players that have heavily invested in sawmilling, reconstituted wood manufacturing, utility pole manufacturing, charcoal production, wood carving, paper and paper product manufacturing, biomass energy  and non-timber production. Non-timber products collected in indigenous forests and woodlands are sorted graded and processed into various products for home use and surplus for sale. Some of the technical and management organization in primary production include partnerships/contracts between tree growers and companies or social investors, tree growers associations and manufacturers associations. Most of them are still at infancy stages and still need support from the public sector and other agencies to enhance levels of professionalism and service delivery.  The country has in place policies and legislations to support PPPs implementation in the forest sector. The supporting instruments include the multi-sectoral PPP policy 2013 and PPP Act of 2013. The forest sector instruments include the National Forest Policy 2016 and Forest Conservation and Management Act 2016 whose provisions include granting of forestland concessions to private sector investors on a competitive basis under specified conditions. No concession has been undertake because of lack of supporting subsidiary legislation. Some PPP variants already in operation include Community Forest Associations (CFAs) in the management public forests and Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives in rehabilitation of key water towers.

Keywords: Primary forest production, secondary forest production, public private partnerships, forest policies and legislations, technical and management organizations, trade in forest products.

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